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Types of audits

Here is an overview of the various types of audits which exist. 

Please note: An audit is check made by an independent certification body ; it is not an inspection carried out by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC). 

Initial audit

The "initial audit":  this takes place within a maximum of 9 months after the application. The date of the audit is agreed.

If the result is positive, the farmer obtains a certificate valid for three years. 

If the result is not positive, there will be a supplementary audit. During this audit, only the corrections of the non-conforming elements will be checked – this type of audit does not necessarily involve the auditor visiting the farmer; that depends on the nature of the non-conformity to be corrected. If the result of the supplementary audit is positive, the farmer obtains a certificate. 

Follow-up audit

9 months before the certification lapses, the CB will invite the farmer to extend his certification. The farmer has the right to change CB. Before prolongation of the certificate a new assessment has to be performed (follow-up audit). 

If the result is positive, the former obtains a certificate valid for three years. 

If the result is not positive, there will be a supplementary audit. If no corrective measures are taken within the deadline set or if the termination date of the certificate has expired, the certificate is not renewed. 

Unannounced Audits

The certification body carries out unannounced audits. If the result is positive, the farmer keeps his certificate. If the result is not positive, the farm has a certain period of time during which he can correct the non-conforming elements. If no corrective measure is taken within the deadline set or if these measures are insufficient, the certificate is withdrawn. 

Extension of the certificate

During the validity of his certificate, a farmer can request an extra audit from his contracting CB if he expands his farm’s product groups.

The validity of the certificate for the extended product groups always runs parallel to the validity of the existing certificate.

The general requirements and the specific requirements for the new product groups must be controlled during this extension audit. In certain cases, defined by Vegaplan, the audit may be limited to an administrative audit (without an on-site visit).

Restriction of the field of application of the certificate 

During the term of certification a farmer can stop growing certain product groups definitively and inform the CB. The field of application is restricted accordingly. 

Take over of a farm

If the farm is acquired, a new audit has to be performed. This rule does not count for acquisitions by family of the first or second degree, spouses or partnerships by which the original manager becomes or remains shareholder. This exception is only valid if there is no change in the product groups. These transfers have to be notified to the CB in question, so that a new certificate (of the same duration) may be issued in the name of the new person in charge.

Intermediate Audits (solely for agricultural contractors carrying out the activity of ‘secondary transport’)

If the ‘secondary transport’ activity is included in the certificate of the agricultural contractor, an intermediate audit will be conducted by the certification body under contract between the 15th and 21st month which follows the date that the certificate took effect.

During this intermediate audit the inspection is limited only to conditions relating to the ‘secondary transport’ activity of the Vegaplan Standard applicable at that moment.

If no level 1 non-conformity is found, the status of the contractor with regard to the ‘secondary transport’ activity will remain at ‘certificate obtained.’ If elements of level 1 non-conformity are found, the status of the contractor with respect to the ‘secondary transport’ activities will be ‘certificate cancelled.’ The contractor can once again obtain his certificate for the ‘secondary transport’ activities by means of an additional audit which will take place no later than three months later.